Faculty Advisor(s)

Kristina Dorkoski and Heather Fritz



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Background: Due to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) being one of the most common neurological disorders in young adults, it is essential that as future health care professionals, we are educated on different types of alternative treatments. Recent research has shown that individuals with MS are open to considering medical marijuana as a treatment for common symptoms associated with this disease. This population, among others, would benefit from continued research on this topic to further prove its effectiveness for symptom relief.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to systematically review the existing literature regarding the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating common symptoms experienced by individuals with MS.

Methods: A literature search on electronic databases was conducted in September 2019 and updated in January 2020. The search terms used were medical marijuana, cannabis, randomized controlled trial, and multiple sclerosis. The search was limited to years 2003-2020, major headings multiple sclerosis and cannabis, and peer reviewed journals. Articles were screened and hand searched.

Results: Fifteen articles met inclusion criteria and were included in this review.

Conclusions: The literature review provided evidence in supporting the use of medical marijuana to reduce common symptoms reported in patients with MS. Stronger evidence for improvements in pain and spasticity were commonly seen in the reviewed literature. Adverse effects were reported in all studies, and further follow-up studies are necessary to identify long term effects of using medical marijuana in controlling the symptoms associated with MS.

Publication Date


Document Type



Physical Therapy


multiple sclerosis, medical cannabis, medical marijuana, spasticity, pain


Medicine and Health Sciences

The Effects of Medical Marijuana on Common Symptoms Seen in Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis: A Systematic Review



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